Insect Repellents: How Do You Prevent Bug Bites?

summer safety guide

Spending a lot of time outdoors this summer? Protect yourself and your kids against mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, no-see-ums, chiggers, and other pests with these safe insect repellents.

  • Insect Repellents Containing DEET

DEET-based repellents offer the most effective and long-lasting protection against insects. However, many people who use DEET experience negative side effects including rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness, and difficulty concentrating.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believe DEET to be safe as long as people follow the application instructions on the package. Also, although no serious illness has been linked to the use of DEET in children when used according to product recommendations, no definitive research exists about what concentration of DEET is safe for children.

It is important to be cautious when using DEET products and only use products with the lowest concentrations of DEET needed for your protection. Concentrations of 10 percent to 30 percent are usually recommended, but check with your doctor to see what percentage is safest for you and your family. Use the US Department of Health & Human Services' list of products containing DEET (which includes percentages) to help in choosing a safe product.


  • Natural Insect Repellents

If you want to avoid DEET, there are several non-toxic repellent sprays, sticks, patches, and wristbands available to help protect your family. Check out these links for detailed reviews of natural repellents:

  1. Avoiding Bug Bites Naturally from Eco Child's Play
  2. Ideal Bite's Top Picks for Non-Toxic Repellents
  3. 7 Natural Insect Repellents from The Daily Green

Which insect repellent do you use in the summer?

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